Monday, April 27, 2009

New Camera

My beloved camera, an Olympus SP-550UZ, has had a piece of dust on the lens for as long as I can remember. I never got it taken care of because I knew I'd have to send it in, and I didn't want to have to do without it. Finally, I decided to go to Fry's and have them send it in. Wouldn't it figure that Fry's said my 3-year extended warranty did not cover dust, and I'd have to pay Olympus $180 to have it fixed. I decided that a better use for this money would be to get a dSLR, as I've been wanted. After some research on the internet, I decided that the Olympus E-420 would give me the best value for my money.
I've been shooting in manual mode on my point-and-shoot for two years now, but a dSLR is still quite different. I'm slowly adjusting to it while continuing to use my other two Olympus cameras (the SP-550 UZ and the rugged 790 SW). I'm impressed with the crispness of the images. Here are two flowers blooming in my front yard (or "embankment," as Brad put it).
Edit: The E-420 is great, but I found the E-520 online for only $50 more, and it includes image stabilization, a larger battery, and a more substantial grip. I'm going to be testing out Amazon's return policy...

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Pine Creek to Bridge Mtn, 0 for 3

Two years ago, Rick, Mike, and I tried to reach Bridge Mountain from Pine Creek. Twice. We never found the route, so we never made it out of the canyon. When I saw Branch Whitney post this hike on the Meetup website, I had to try it. I started out with eight strong guys, and this was just not my day to conquer this hike. My legs felt weak and I couldn't get enough air, so at the end of the canyon I decided to turn back. It was probably a good thing because my buddy Gene said it was one of the hardest hikes he's done. The silver lining is that Fern Canyon was filled with water and flowers (and ducks, so I hear), so I was able to take my time getting back to the car and take some pictures along the way.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

UNC - National Champs!

It's March Madness, the most wonderful time of the year. My alma mater, North Carolina, reached the national championship game. So did my dad's alma mater, Michigan State. As indicated by the flag hanging outside my parent's house, my family was a bit divided on the issue.
I didn't have anyone to watch the game with, but I really wanted to share the excitement with others, preferably people who were cheering for a reason other than the betting line. Hours before tipoff, I discovered that there is a Las Vegas Carolina Club. I've been out here two and a half years, and I had no idea. I drove down to a sports bar just south of the Strip and met 12 or so other Carolina alums. I yelled, I screamed, and I cried at the end when my Tar Heels won their 5th national championship.

(Sorry Dad - I would be pulling for the Spartans in any other game. I'll be sure that the national championship t-shirt I send you doesn't show the final score.)